The International Air Transport Association (IATA) says more jobs could be generated and additional economic growth achieved in Cameroon if the West African nation opened its market to greater airline transport connectivity.
This was one of the topics of discussion during two days of high-level meetings between IATA and Cameroon’s political leaders, policy makers, regulators and other air transport industry role-players.
The potential socio-economic benefits for Cameroon provide a compelling argument for tearing down the barriers to market entry, which in turn will stimulate competition, making air travel more affordable and thereby enabling much higher volumes of trade, tourism and commerce between Cameroon and the rest of Africa.
This was the message conveyed by IATA’s Vice President, Africa, Raphael Kuuchi, who led a delegation from the global industry body, in a series of high level meetings with Cameroonian officials including Minister of Transport, Edgard Alain Mebe Ngo’o, Minister of Tourism and Leisure, Bello Bouba Maigari, Minister of Environment Pierre Hele, and Director General of Cameroon’s Civil Aviation Association, Paule Avomo Assoumou.
“Improved connectivity will see passenger volumes on routes to, from and within Cameroon grow by more than 8 percent per year, compared with just under 5 percent for Africa overall. For Cameroon this means an additional 5.5 million passengers will take to the sky over the next 20 years and with it, accelerated economic growth and widespread prosperity,” explained Mr Kuuchi.
“Much work has been done to develop Cameroon’s aviation sector. Moving forward it is imperative that this momentum is not lost. In order for Cameroon to realise its full growth, potential measures such as infrastructure investment, the development of harmonised business-friendly policies and a renewed focus on safety must continue. IATA remains committed to supporting Cameroon achieve its potential,” added Mr Kuuchi
The visit provided opportunities for discussion on a number of key issues, including safety initiatives, ratification of measures for dealing with unruly passengers and Cameroon’s adoption of the global Montreal Convention 99 on airline liability for passenger compensation.
Also on the agenda was the environment and Cameroon’s support, together with other African Union member states, for the adoption and implementation of a market-based measure to meet the industry’s 2020 goal of carbon-neutral growth, to be discussed at the 2016 ICAO Assembly.
IATA’s delegation also participated in the Youth in Aviation conference held by the Young African Aviation Professional Association (YAAPA) to promote aviation as a compelling career choice for young people.
IATA, through the International Airline Training Fund (IATF), is committed to building a pipeline of future aviation talent in Africa by providing learning and development opportunities.
Addressing the conference, IATA’s Regional Head of Member and External Relations, Africa, Adefunke Adeyemi reinforced IATA’s call to African nations to lead the way in driving gender equality in aviation, an industry where women are vastly under-represented globally.